A Conversation With ASID


IA has been known to work alongside a number of industry organizations, but one that we’re particularly proud to be involved with is ASID – the American Society of Interior Designers. The oldest professional organization for interior designers, ASID has worked for over 43 years to provide advocacy, research, and educational and professional development opportunities to interior designers. We're proud to say that many IA professionals are members of ASID, and that we're very proud of how those professionals and the non-profit are contributing to the industry.

So naturally, when we heard that Randy Fiser (Chief Executive Officer of ASID) had a moment to spare to share his feelings on the past, present, and future of ASID, we jumped at the opportunity and asked our very own Russell Manthy, Project Director in our New York office, to sit down with him. In the following recording, we ask Randy a few questions about topics that are near and dear to our hearts.

The following are but a few highlights of that interview:

The following are but a few highlights of that interview:

(IA) So for starters could you tell us a bit about the ASID and its mission?

(Randy W. Fiser, Hon. FASID) "I know you mentioned that ASID was started in 1975, but interestingly enough we actually go back another 40 years to our founding organizations...so we're actually 80+ years our organization, and our focus is really to demonstrate that design impacts lives. We're all about helping our profession and the clients of our profession to understand why design matters, why the services of an interior designer matter to them, and what they can do to benefit the lives of the people that occupy the spaces that are created by interior designers."

What are the ways that the ASID advocates for interior designers and the profession in general? 

"A lot of our work right now is focusing on the ROI of design, so we have been investing heavily (actually, over the last 6 years we've invested over a million dollars) in tying the work of designers to the impact and to the outcomes, and knowing that your clients that hire you want to understand why you're spending money on your services, and that there's a value to that, and that from a workplace perspective that can improve productivity, engagement, and retention of employees. From a healthcare perspective it can impact patient outcomes — and all of those are measurable outcomes. We do our best to invest in places where there's gaps in the research and help to bolster that for the profession. And then we share that with the community, so that you can go to your clients and use this as a way of talking about your services and your fees and talking about why you deserve the resources that you deserve.

We do also advocate...politically on behalf of the profession itself. And some of that is to make sure that for what you've been trained to do, or for those that have gone on for examination through the NCIDQ that in the states that we're able to recognize that that you're able to practice to the fullest extent of your abilities, and in states where that's recognized we're looking to provide designers the ability to practice in those regulated spaces...

We're also looking at a lot of the federal legislation and federal acts that can positively or negatively influence the profession as a whole. So, for example, we weighed in on tariffs recently. We that this is going to influence the cost of construction, and we think that that could potentially be not a good thing for us as a country, and with an economy that's generated through either the purchase of homes or through the construction industry, if that was negatively impacted that would not be a good thing for the industry as a whole.

Recently, even as of last Friday, we made comments on the APA changing asbestos regulations, or proposing to change asbestos regulations, and weighed in on behalf of the profession to say that we do not think of these changes in the regulations is a good thing...."

And then we move on to everything from education and trying to help young designers come out of the burden of debt by possibly providing services in a non-profit sector for a period of time to help alleviate that debt, to taxes on professional fees, and making sure that those are not exorbitant, or don't exist at all if they don't need to."

 What are some goals you might have for practicing designers or architects in how they run internship programs?

"...there's two ways, in my experience, even of being in different industries and professions that organizations look at internship opportunities. In one, they look at this as "oh, it's cheap labor"... and I think that's the wrong way to go...but really...your opportunity is to test that end of the market and provide an experience and begin to court that future relationship that could become a future employee of your organization through the opportunity to engage them in all aspects of your organization. That helps them to see what this job is about, it helps them to understand the culture of your organization, it helps them to even maybe hone in on what area of practice they may be interested in, so by giving the broadest exposure to young designers and students within your firm, you're really setting yourself up for the future workforce that you're wanting to hire, and I think even beginning to interject into that internship program, skill gap training that you know that you've experienced in the past by intentionally doing the presentations, workshops with the interns as they're there and giving them the opportunity to do peer-to-peer presentations in front of seasoned executives who've done many presentations, you're now even potentially getting them ready to hit the ground and actually deliver on day one as they start the job. "

 Where do you see our profession heading in the future?

"...the education is now really focusing more of the creativity of the designer now on the science of "how does that creativity truly impact individuals and people." And obviously there's the building sciences along with that, of how buildings perform...we're bringing others to the table and into the conversation so it's becoming much more interdisciplinary so I think we're beginning to learn how to be better partners with HR, with anthropologists, with other scientists, even healthcare professionals in delivering the spaces that you create and I see interior designers in particular becoming much more leaders of project teams and stepping into a leadership role, versus...delivering something that someone else has envisioned...."

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IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists. We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.

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The oldest professional organization for interior designers, ASID has worked  for over 43 years to provide advocacy, research, and educational and professional development opportunities to interior designers. We spoke with CEO Randy Fiser about the past, future, and present of this organization.

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